Eastern Question

written by Darovan Tušek

Urban planning and architectural design of the east coast of the Port of Split is probably the most exciting task that the architects from this region will have to tackle in the future. Generally speaking, it is hard to imagine a city where only a couple of hundred meters away from the historical complex included on the UNESCO's World Heritage List, there are 90 000 m2 of half-empty and completely unarticulated space that needs to be programmatically defined by an urban planning project in such a way to include railway and bus terminals, hotels, public garages, a congress centre, cultural and tourist facilities and, at the same time, to solve the problem of the traffic infrastructure of the third largest sea port on the Mediterranean.
During the rapid development of Split after World War II, there were other priorities, like the construction of the residential complexes Split 2 and Split 3 or the buildings and the infrastructure built for the Mediterranean games in 1979. The port area was thus left unaddressed. The Port of Split was never planned as a whole and was always divided into the waterfront and the east and the west coast. The Waterfront, as the central part of the port in front of the Diocletian Palace, was architecturally completely articulated in 2007, in accordance to the project designed by 3LHD studio, winner of the architectural competition. The west coast, a former industrial zone, was gradually planned and built during the 20th century. The design of the new face of the city in the zone with unbalanced and sporadic construction and the analysis of vehicle and pedestrian traffic was offered in the awarded competition project by a group of authors from the Split URBS association in 1958, later realised by successful projects of architects Neven Šegvić and Lovro Perković. The final makeover of the west coast was completed in 2013, by the expansion and design of the representative promenade stretching along the west coast. Today, after all the mentioned interventions, there is still a chance that a master plan for the east coast would manage to create a comprehensively representative space, the city’s costal promenade and the marine façade of Split.